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Finding Funding Money News Briefs

BMO and 1871 Open Applications for WMNfintech Accelerator

BMO and 1871 recently announced a call for applications for their annual WMNfintech program. The program is the largest non-profit fintech industry program in North America for women-founded and women-led startups. Designed to help women-led fintechs make financial progress, the program bridges the gender gap in startup and tech communities. It gives entrepreneurs access to a powerful ecosystem focused on helping them grow their businesses. It also brings innovative technologies and products forward that support the financial sector.

To qualify, fintech companies must be women-founded, women-led and have/will launch a brand presence in the United States. Founders may apply here. Applications are open from March 1-April 15, 2024. Founders will pitch prospective partners and investors at the world’s largest tech hub in August.

Women-led fintech

BMO will host the program’s final showcase at their Bay Area office. There will be an audience of various stakeholders, banking partners, regulators and trade groups. Organizations such as the State of California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation and The American Bankers Association have appeared in the past.

“Now gearing up to launch its fifth cohort, WMNfintech has emerged as the best ecosystem in North America that connects women founders with resources and relationships to grow their businesses, pitch products and services and create real opportunities to secure capital so they can thrive,” said Andrew Harrison, Head of U.S. Digital Partners at BMO. “I’m so proud of our relationship with 1871 and can confidently say that each year, we are delivering on our commitment to make progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society by supporting women who are transforming financial services.”

Program opportunities

Five companies will be selected to participate in the WMNfintech program, which is designed to support the progress of women founders by:

  • Delivering curated fintech-amplified workshops.
  • Offering curriculum focused on enterprise sales cycles, vendor management, information security, risk and regulatory requirements, onboarding, financial management and media training delivered by BMO.
  • Creating the opportunity to pitch investors and BMO partners for feedback, mentoring, continued connections and potential access to capital and funding.
  • Granting Access to 1871’s immersive educational programming, including expert-led workshops and more than 150 mentors.
  • Providing access to a six-month complimentary membership to 1871, including access to its space, resources and roadmap of support.

“The fintech sector is undergoing an extraordinary evolution, propelled by women who are boldly pioneering innovative solutions and driving change. Corporations must engage with these dynamic startups to spark innovation and promote the growth and acknowledgment of women in fintech,” said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871. “Our continued collaboration with BMO has allowed us to support and observe the remarkable influence of women founders in our joint program. We are excited to continue this journey.”

WMNfintech ‘s impact: women-led fintech

Since launching in 2020, women-led fintechs who have come through the program have been quite successful. They have raised more than $35 million in capital and created over 200 jobs.

Additionally, BMO has expanded its national fintech network. They have developed proofs of concept, partnerships and investments in both the fintech space and previous WMNfintech participants by:

WMNfintech strongly aligns with BMO’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion strategy. The strategy supports equity, equality and inclusion in and outside the bank. The program is also another example of BMO’s Digital First strategy, focused on building a digitally-enabled, future-ready bank that drives progress for its customers, unlocks the power of its people and delivers loyalty, growth and efficiency.

To apply for the WMNfintech program and learn more about the program, visit https://1871.com/membership/wmnfintech/.

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth-largest bank in North America by assets. It has total assets of $1.3 trillion as of January 31, 2024. BMO has served customers for 200 years and counting. Its diverse team of employees provides banking, wealth management and investment products and services. It has 13 million customers across Canada, the United States and in select markets globally. The mission is to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. BMO is committed to driving positive change and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future and inclusive society.

About 1871

1871, a nonprofit global innovation hub, exists to inspire, equip and support early-stage, growth-stage, late-stage and corporative innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~500 early-stage startups, ~250 growth and late-stage companies and ~60 corporates, and is supported by an entire community focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in-person access to workshops, events, mentorships and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 200 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 1,050+ alum companies are still active, have created over 14,700 jobs and have raised more than $3.7 billion in follow-on capital.

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